The Irish can expect their lives to be “pretty much normal” again in August, predicted Tanaiste Leo Varadkar.
And that month could also see the “vast majority of restrictions” as a thing of the past.
The Fine Gael leader also said he is “confident” that the dinners inside will likely get the go-ahead by July, if the vaccine launch goes ahead as planned.
Mr Varadkar said he was “their best guest” based on evidence from Israel and the UK as they move forward with their vaccination program.
The news comes as the government has plans to purchase Pfizer booster vaccines for 2022 and 2023, which will likely be needed to protect against Covid-19 variants.
Speaking at the Health Department on Wednesday, Mr. Varadkar said: “I think we have to go through another winter to be safe, but I think life will return to normal in August.
“Life in Israel is back to normal, they are welcoming tourists again and they are not having very large gatherings, but they are having massive gatherings.
“They got to that point when they were in, where we would expect to be in August.
“So I hope that’s the month that things are relatively normal again.
“That doesn’t mean that everything will be the same, but the vast majority of the restrictions that you would expect to see go away by August this year and kids going back to school normally in September and college on campus in September, October, all of those things . “
However, the Fine Gael leader said he believes there will still be restrictions on mass gatherings and international travel at that time.
He said that no one can promise that timeline given that Covid-19 is a new virus and said no one knows for sure.
He said: “We don’t know what might happen in terms of variants that may be resistant to vaccines, and we don’t know what will happen when winter comes.”
The Tanáiste also said that if he were working in the hospitality business, he would be planning to dine indoors in July.
He said: “I will still be hopeful, and on the confident side of hope that we will have indoor dinners in pubs and restaurants in July.
“It’s just that July is pretty far away, and we really can’t make a call until the end of June.
“But you know that cases are stable, hospitalizations and ICUs are decreasing.
“And tens of thousands more people get vaccinated every day, so if you were in the hospitality business, you would be planning to go outdoors in June and indoors in July, subject to all the usual warnings.”
Varadkar also said that this Christmas will be “normal”.
He added: “And then it will be a normal Christmas in terms of seeing all our friends and relatives.”